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The drivers

Profiles of the drivers behind the wheels at the Grand Prix.

By Times Staff
Published April 1, 2005


2 Tomas Enge

TEAM: Panther Racing

AGE: 28

HOMETOWN: Liberec, Czech Republic

CAR: Dallara-Chevrolet

NOTABLE: Ran three Formula One races for the Prost team in 2001, including Indianapolis. Has yet to earn a top-10 finish in four IndyCar starts. Was part of the winning team in the GTS class at the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans.

3 Helio Castroneves

TEAM: Team Penske

AGE: 29

HOMETOWN: Sao Paolo, Brazil

CAR: Dallara-Toyota

NOTABLE: The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner (2001-02) has finished second, third and fourth, respectively, in IndyCar points the past three seasons. Nicknamed "Spider-Man" for his habit of climbing track fences after victories.

4 Tomas Scheckter

TEAM: Panther Racing

AGE: 24

HOMETOWN: Cape Town, South Africa

CAR: Dallara-Chevrolet

NOTABLE: Got his lone series win from pole at Michigan in 2002. Was with three teams his first three seasons. Led the most laps in both the 2002 and '03 Indianapolis 500s (85 and 63, respectively) but led 30 laps all season in '04.

6 Sam Hornish

TEAM: Team Penske

AGE: 25

HOMETOWN: Defiance, Ohio

CAR: Dallara-Toyota

NOTABLE: Holds series record for wins in a season (five) and career (13) and is the series' only two-time champion (2001-02). Youngest champion of a major open-wheel series (age 22 in 2001). Leads points after March 19 win.

7 Bryan Herta

TEAM: Andretti Green Racing

AGE: 34

HOMETOWN: Warren, Mich.

CAR: Dallara-Honda

NOTABLE: Won at Kansas in 2003, his first IRL season after a decade in CART, where he won twice. Had 10 top 10s for Andretti Green in 2004, but his only top three was second place at Chicagoland. Was ninth in points.

8 Scott Sharp

TEAM: Fernandez Racing

AGE: 37

HOMETOWN: Norwalk, Conn.

CAR: Dallara-Honda

NOTABLE: Is the last driver left from the series' inception in 1996 and ran his 100th IRL race March 19 at Phoenix. His record streak of seven consecutive seasons with a win was snapped last year; he has eight wins total.

9 Scott Dixon

TEAM: Chip Ganassi Racing

AGE: 24

HOMETOWN: Auckland, New Zealand

CAR: Panoz-Toyota

NOTABLE: Won the IndyCar championship in his debut season, 2003, but fell to 10th last year as the Toyotas struggled. While in CART, became the youngest driver to win a race in a major open-wheel series (age 20) in 2001 at Nazareth.

10 Darren Manning

TEAM: Chip Ganassi Racing

AGE: 29

HOMETOWN: North Yorkshire, England

CAR: Panoz-Toyota

NOTABLE: Finished in the top 10 in both races this season and is fifth in points. Had four top fives last season including fourth place three times. Was a test driver for the BAR Formula One team from 2000-02. Raced in St. Petersburg with CART in 2003.

11 Tony Kanaan

TEAM: Andretti Green Racing

AGE: 30

HOMETOWN: Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

CAR: Dallara-Honda

NOTABLE: The defending series champion has a streak of 17 consecutive top-five finishes dating back more than a year. Hasn't finished outside the top 10 - or failed to complete a race lap - since 2003 at Texas, a span of 18 races.

15 Buddy Rice

TEAM: Rahal Letterman Racing

AGE: 29

HOMETOWN: Phoenix

CAR: Panoz-Honda

NOTABLE: The defending Indianapolis 500 champion won from pole there and at Kansas last season. Also won at Michigan and finished third in season points. A major improvement from 2003 when his best finish was ninth for Cheever Racing.

16 Danica Patrick

TEAM: Rahal Letterman Racing

AGE: 23

HOMETOWN: Roscoe, Ill.

CAR: Panoz-Honda

NOTABLE: The only female driver in the series has finished 15th in both races this season and completed the race distance at Phoenix. She was the first woman to earn a pole position and a top-three finish in the Toyota Atlantic series.

17 Vitor Meira

TEAM: Rahal Letterman Racing

AGE: 28

HOMETOWN: Brasilia, Brazil

CAR: Panoz-Honda

NOTABLE: Has been second twice including last year at Kansas, where teammate Buddy Rice edged him by 0.0051 seconds, the second-closest finish in series history. Had 11 top-10 finishes and was eighth in points last season.

20 Ed Carpenter

TEAM: Vision Racing

AGE: 24

HOMETOWN: Indianapolis

CAR: Dallara-Toyota

NOTABLE: In 2003 at Chicagoland Speedway he became the first driver to compete in an Infiniti Pro Series race and an IndyCar race in the same weekend. His team is owned by series CEO Tony George, who is also Carpenter's stepfather.

24 Roger Yasukawa

TEAM: Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

AGE: 27

HOMETOWN: Los Angeles

CAR: Dallara-Honda

NOTABLE: Had three top 10s as a rookie in 2003, including 10th at the Indianapolis 500. Was 10th again last year for Rahal Letterman but that was one of only two races he ran. He's with his third team in three years.

26 Dan Wheldon

TEAM: Andretti Green Racing

AGE: 26

HOMETOWN: Emberton, England

CAR: Dallara-Honda

NOTABLE: The St. Petersburg resident made a splash last season, his second in the series. He won three times and finished second in points. Continued his form this season, winning the opener at Homestead, and is second in points.

27 Dario Franchitti

TEAM: Andretti Green Racing

AGE: 31

HOMETOWN: Edinburgh, Scotland

CAR: Dallara-Honda

NOTABLE: Won twice (Milwaukee and Pikes Peak) in 2004, his first full season in the series. Was a 10-time winner in CART (1997-2002) and had the same number of points (212) in 1999 as champion Juan Montoya but lost via tiebreaker.

33 Ryan Briscoe

TEAM: Chip Ganassi Racing

AGE: 23

HOMETOWN: Sydney, Australia

CAR: Panoz-Toyota

NOTABLE: The rookie won the 2003 Formula 3 Euroseries title and was a test driver for Toyota in Formula One last year. Accidents have taken him out of both races this year. Most admires motorcycle champion Valentino Rossi.

48 A.J. Foyt IV

TEAM: A.J. Foyt Racing

AGE: 20

HOMETOWN: Hockley, Texas

CAR: Dallara-Toyota

NOTABLE: The grandson of legend A.J. Foyt finished a career-best ninth in March at Homestead. Won the 2002 Infiniti Pro Series title. In 2003 became the youngest driver ever (age 19) to start the Indianapolis 500 and finished 18th.

51 Alex Barron

TEAM: Red Bull Cheever Racing

AGE: 34

HOMETOWN: San Diego

CAR: Dallara-Toyota

NOTABLE: Had one full and three partial seasons in CART before coming to the IRL. Won once in 2002 and once in '03 and was fourth and sixth, respectively, in the Indianapolis 500 in those years. This is his second season with Cheever.

55 Kosuke Matsuura

TEAM: Super Aguri Fernandez Racing

AGE: 25

HOMETOWN: Aichi, Japan

CAR: Panoz-Honda

NOTABLE: Qualified second for the Michigan race last year and finished fourth the following race at Kentucky on his way to winning series Rookie of the Year. Also was named Rookie of the Year at the Indianapolis 500, where he was 11th.

83 Patrick Carpentier

TEAM: Cheever Racing

AGE: 33

HOMETOWN: La Salle, Quebec

CAR: Dallara-Toyota

NOTABLE: Became the IRL's latest Champ Car defector during the offseason. Earned five wins in the past four seasons in that series and finished third in points twice, in 2002 and '04. Has top 10s in both races this season. Raced in St. Petersburg with CART in 2003.